Passion of The Game of Bridge

Partnership: Bridge Commodity That (not) Hard To Maintain

Partnership: Bridge Commodity That (not) Hard To Maintain

Like it or not, bridge is not individual game. You need a partner, period. Either the partner is your old buddy, colleague at office, fellow member at your local club or even your spouse, bridge partnership has been proven to be quite hard to maintain and a little bit delicate issue. Or not ?

Reason of partnership break-up

There are many reason people get divorce as it is there are so many reason on partnership breakup, on table or off table. “Partner too aggressive”, “Why you did not lead Club?”, “Why you bid that?”, “Dont you count?”, “Why still finesse ?”, “Why did you ‘Pass’?, “Why you forget that convention”, “Why add more convention” and even “Did you change your perfume?… 🙂 Sorry, the last one just a joke.

All those “reasons” are usually only the trigger. There will be more fundamental reason rather than just knee jerk reaction from the last board or last session of the game.

[Bobby Wolff/Bob Hamman]

Legendary Partnership: Bobby Wolff/Bob Hamman,

I myself has lost a good partnership trigger by not finessing King of Heart on a 6 contract. Contract only our partnership has beautifully bid on an national event pair final. And always made if I finesse the King (or -of course- dropped). But again, there will be more fundamental reason why it breaks.


Even the legendary partnership of USA famous bridge player Bobby Wolff and Bob Hamman (pictured on the left) have to end after nearly 30 years of good partnership. Gee, that was a massive partnership that produce countless of precious Bridge title, including: 19 world championships, 7 Bermuda Bowl/Vanderbilt, Olympiad, etc, etc… you named it they have it… People just know that the reason of the break up is something to do with the bidding system. Wolff said on one occassion “but I think an artificial system would have severely hurt our partnership.”

So, what the reason a bridge partnership is failing. I reckon, it will start to fail as soon as you cannot tick all the the good keys of bridge partnership below.

6 Keys of Long Bridge Partnership

  1. You two need to share same or similar Bridge purpose. If your partner play just for fun and you want to become competitive bridge player then it will not work.
  2. You two need to have similar skill -or- the one that have leading skill is willing to help partner catch up. If not, all difficult hand will become potential fight of a technical skill.
  3. As marriage, do not sweat the small things, be forgiving for each other. People makes mistake – that’s only make him a human. So, missing a board as partner miss the count of trump will happen sooner or later – do not make a big fuss with those kind of thing. You know that under normal circumstances he will not do such silly thing.
  4. Get a coach. Maybe the Bridge Master of your local club, or maybe just online teacher, but always have a 3rd party that both of you are willing to listen on both technical skill matter or off topic of bridge.
  5. Maintain a written repository of all convention that you play as they are your “reference” books (including bidding system, defensive bidding, defensive play, discard signal, etc). So, not only easy for each of one of you to refer back when you are forgetful, but also to avoid a brawl over this commonly problematic issue. Yes, make a copy each. Doesn’t have to be fancy, a spreadsheet or  a writing on a sheet of paper will do.
  6. Your partner is a friend even not playing bridge. Enjoy each other company outside bridge.

As long as all 6 aspects above still alive, then your partnership will go to a better one with time, together with your bridge achievements.

Still looking a partner? Go to your local club…. Don’t be shy and just say out loud what kind of partner that you are looking for (only for casual or competitive, skill level that you are comfortable with, time commitment, etc) – sooner or later you will get one…

That’s it.. Hoping you and your partner have long lasting experience – hopefully and preferably better than the great Hamman/Wolff partnership. Of course you can. Happy Bridging !

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